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Engaging young people and strong police presence in Birmingham has led to a large decline in crime rates

Perception has long driven an acute depiction of the City of Birmingham as it relates to crime rates and race relations. For example, during the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, crime was nearly inevitable as segregation continued to spur the hatred and violence that claimed innocent lives and scarred many. Not to mention, the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church that marred the families of four young girls who lost their lives and others who were brutally injured. This heinous, yet monumental event left Birmingham with the nickname “Bombingham.”

Past perception however is not a reflection of current truth. In the first quarter of last year, Birmingham showed over a 60 percent drop in homicides, robberies and burglaries. The total number of assaults and violent crimes has yet to be released. During the latter part of 2014 overall crime was down by 70 percent.

Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee said that when communities come together to stop and report crime as it happens change is inevitable.

“I’m a firm believer in the “village” and how it takes holistic efforts from the community in order for us to realize change and safety in our city,” Councilor Hoyt said. “We have to take charge and remain responsible to one another on all accounts and not just when things affect us.”

Although Birmingham is moving forward, leaders recognize there is much more work to be done. The efforts of Chief A.C. Roper and the armed forces of the Birmingham Police Department have grown into a module of reformation. The police department attributes the drop in crime to collected efforts of engaging young people in the community and having a strong presence on the least expected post.

“We’ve come a long way in helping transform our city,” said Lieutenant Sean Edwards, Public Information Officer of the Birmingham Police Department. “Low crime statistics are a great success. It takes the joint efforts of the Birmingham Police Officers and the communities along with city leaders contributing their hard work in helping us utilize more crime preventative measures. This presents an opportunity for us to work even harder and keep Birmingham at the forefront of change.”

This article is a contribution from Chiara Morrow (chiara.morrow@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.